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article imageQ&A: New developments with inhalable medicines Special

By Tim Sandle     Jul 9, 2018 in Health
MannKind CEO Michael Castagna has developed an inhalable insulin product, designed to help those with diabetes, and now he is looking at other medicines that can be inhaled.
According to Castagna many with diabetes are now taking a puff for their mealtime insulin. The product is Afrezza Inhalation Powder. This is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin, delivered by inhalation through a specially designed device at the beginning of a meal.
Castagna believes there is potential for his delivery method of inhaled medicine for other ailments as well. Castagna has just announced a Phase 1 Trial of Inhaled Medicine for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
Digital Journal caught up with Castagna to discuss his company’s novel treatments.
Digital Journal: What is the extent of diabetes in the developed world?
Michael Castagna: Unfortunately, diabetes is increasing in the developed world. According to the CDC, 30.3 million U.S. adults have diabetes, and 1 in 4 are unaware that they have it. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., and is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations and adult-onset blindness. Over the last two decades, the number of adults diabetes with diabetes has more than tripled.
DJ: Why did you decide to develop an easier to administer form of diabetes treatment?
Castagna: Al Mann’s vision was to make the treatment of diabetes easier for patients. He assembled the technology to improve upon currently available insulin delivery options. Afrezza offers patients a method of delivering insulin for mealtime glucose control that is not injected, and due to the way insulin is distributed through the lungs, it has an unmatched time action profile for both how quickly the insulin can work and how long a dose of insulin may stay in the system.
DJ: Does this address risks with needle use?
Castagna: Patients with type 1 and some with type 2 diabetes still require injectable insulin for their basal insulin needs. Afrezza can reduce the need for mealtime insulin injections and can offer another option to injecting insulin at mealtime, which could save patients ~1,000 needle sticks a year.
DJ: How does the inhaler work?
Castagna: Afrezza (insulin human) Inhalation Powder is a rapid-acting inhaled insulin used to improve glycemic control in adults with diabetes. It is delivered by inhalation through a specially designed device at the beginning of a meal. An important characteristic of Afrezza is the way it is delivered into the body via oral inhalation via the patient’s breath. Upon inhalation, Technosphere insulin powder particles are aerosolized and delivered into the lungs, and then quickly absorbed into the blood stream.
Afrezza is indicated for adult patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
DJ: What has been the response from the medical community?
Castagna: The reaction has been very positive from many medical professionals. We’re extremely excited as more and more of those in the medical community are realizing the advancement we’ve made with inhalable insulin.
For others, like any new innovation (consider those who took a while to move from the flip phone to the iPhone), it can take some time to adopt the very latest. We find that most of the time, once medical professionals learn about Afrezza and start providing it to patients, they continue to prescribe it.
Also, we continue to work to educate doctors and help them understand that the benefits of this product go beyond inhalation; and that the greatest benefits revolve around the rapid-acting nature of our inhaled insulin at mealtime.
DJ: What do you plan to work on next?
Castagna: We believe there are significant opportunities to bringing what we’ve done with inhaled insulin for diabetes to other chronic conditions. We have several in our product development pipeline.
For example, we just announced the we completed our Phase 1 Trial of Inhaled Medicine for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension. TreT is proposed as a drug-device combination product for the treatment of patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), utilizing a small, portable, breath-powered inhaler that is intended to simplify drug dosing.
More about Medicine, Health, Insulin, Diabetes, Inhaler
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